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dimanche 26 février 2017




Hello everybody,

Believe me or not, the story I'll tell you this week is absolutely true. A bit mind-blowing, I must admit, but just the truth, nothing but the truth.

Don't get me wrong, it does not mean that all the others were totally made up. Even if they sometimes seem a bit airy-fairy, they are just the sunny side version of my daily grind.So, you can't call me  a serial liar, if I sprinkle them with a bit of thrill to hook you, and, a pinch of humour to make you crack a smile.

But, you already know that looking on the bright side is my favourite gimmick, so no need to harp on that any longer.

Now, before taking you on a weird and mind-boggling journey, just a question :

Do you believe in coincidences, or do you usually take them with a pinch of salt ? I mean, do you believe in fate, or do you think that everything happens for a reason ?

Tricky question, isn't it ?

Well, I guess once you have read this week's story, you will be none the wiser, but at least you'll get food for thought.

We had already been living in the same place in Paris, when one day we realized the children were getting bigger and bigger, and our flat smaller and smaller. So, it was high time to sell it and get something more suitable for two hoarders (Dearhubby and me) and two growing teens.

Well, you know what sort of go-getters we are when it comes to testing new jobs : you have read about our adventures as cow-boys (chapter 6), budding gardeners (chapter 11), bird-rescuers (chapter 14), and more recently, tilers (chapter : Fancy Craftsmen on duty). So, no wonder, then,that, once we had made our decision to put our flat for sale, we immediately ditched the estate agents, and mapped out our DIY selling route.

Good opportunity to tackle our honey-do list !

After tightening the loose door knobs, filling in the hairline cracks, giving a quick coat of paint to the doors and baseboards, and other
touch-ups, we were ready to start our do-it-yourself sellers' training.

The market was  buoyant, and the demand for our district  high, as well, so, as soon as our ad came out, we immediately got quite a few viewings. And that's when things turned out to be more difficult than we thought.

Showing people around our flat was far from being a walk in the park,
dealing with those who had nothing else to do on that day, or those who couldn't afford such a purchase, but wanted to test their bargaining skill (not mine, fortunately : see chapter : I have something up my sleeve) . But to look on the bright side of things, those unwanted
visitors helped us to recognize potential buyers more easily.

Among them a man in his early thirties attracted my attention, to say the least ...

I mean, the first time he came, as soon as I opened the door, he had a weird reaction : he stared at me, turned as white as a sheet and took a few steps back, as if he had seen a ghost !
He looked so bewildered and uncomfortable that first I thought my eye makeup had smeared under my eyes ,just as if I had a black eye, and so, the poor guy didn't feel like witnessing a squabble.
Or, perhaps, still some toothpaste left on my chin after brushing my teeth ? It often happened, then, no wonder the young man looked so baffled .
A quick glance at myself in the mirror of the corridor relieved me : no war paint to be seen !
At last he came in, but he went round the rooms as if a swarm of bees was trying to land on him !
How strange ! First, because I was alone ( no swarm with me),and then because he should have known perky busy bees never sting if you stay calm !

Anyway, hardly a quarter later he had gone. Except " good-bye ", he had not uttered a single word !
Good riddance !

Fortunately the other viewings of the day went on smoothly, otherwise I guess I would have thrown in the towel and asked an estate agent for help !

Days went by, and one morning as I was jotting down a few ideas to improve my sales speech, the phone rang.

Guess what !

My " ghost buyer " was back , asking if he could come for a second viewing !
Well, well !
Of course, I agreed.

I knew the saying " Speech is silver, but silence is golden ", but that time I was secretly hoping my potential buyer would choose the first part of it !
Believe me or not, he made my wish come true !

No sooner had he stepped in than he started his house-hunter's talk.
While I was doing my best to satisfy the running fire of his questions, he was writing down in a pad, but...but keeping a poker face all the time.
It was just as if he was conducting an interrogation. It seemed that whatever the room we were in, I was like in a cell !
One hour later, my plastic smile had frozen, and I was about to crack up, but my ' torturer ' was not done with me !
As he said, " Just a few questions left and I'll get off the floor ".
Was he trying to be funny ? Sorry, but it was a dumb joke ! That man was a real pain in the neck !
Damn it ! Where had he found all those questions ? Some were quite normal, but others were just screwball !!
Was he a kind of mystery shopper, or  was he writing the " House Hunting for dummies " handbook ?
Well, whatever his job, he had definitely ruined my day !
At last, ten minutes later he left, after telling me he would call back !

I was washed out and edgy. You know, that kind of feeling you have after taking an oral exam : you have given all your all, and then it is over, and you are drained, but yet, still a bit stressed out.

Anyway, as the saying goes, " the labourer is worthy of his hire "...

The day after, my patience was rewarded : the man phoned and said he was ready to sign a sales agreement !
Before hanging up, he dared to ask me ' a tiebreaker ' as he called it !

" Doesn't my name ring a bell ? ", he asked.

" I'm afraid not ", I answered.

" Quite normal ", he continued, " you test so many students ! Five years
   ago I was one of your victims. I was studying international law, and
   you were my examiner for the English oral exam. You asked me so
   many questions that the first time I visited your flat and recognized
   you, I decided to get back at you. That's why I pepped you with
   questions , just as you did five years ago ! No hard feelings ? ".

" Of course, not", I answered, " but, by the way, did I give you a good
   mark ? ".

" As good as the one I gave to your flat after my first viewing", he said.

Phew !!  I must not have been such an awfully harsh teacher, then !

Now, what do you think of coincidences ? Let me know about your own experience on my mail :


Have a nice week and don't forget : BE PERKY !

For the record : some years later, my former student moved and bought a flat ....close to my mother's !

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